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June 17,2019 - New sheriff’s station to open soon in Babcock Ranch

Babcock Holdings LLC donated the modular structure and will lease the land

By BETSY CALVERT

STAFF WRITER

The Charlotte County Sheriff’s Office is coming to Babcock Ranch.

The lease on the department’s new substation starts July 1, and the Sheriff’s Office hopes to be operational by late July or early August, CCSO public information officer Katie Heck told the Sun last week.

County commissioners last week approved the donation of the modular building and the $100 a month property lease from Babcock Holdings LLC. The 24-by-56 foot trailer is situated on Telegraph Street next to Babcock Ranch’s commercial area.

Babcock Ranch agreed to provide the public safety facility as part of its development agreement more than 10 years ago.

The donation addressed criticism that the project was too far from existing facilities.

At one point, the substation was going to be located on county land next to the fire station on State Road 31 just outside the community, said Babcock spokesperson Lisa Hall, but that did not turn out to be the best location.

Babcock Ranch construction began in 2018 in the community located on about 9,000 acres of former mining pits, farm fields and ranch lands. More than 2,000 lots have been sold, 395 homes sold and 256 occupied resulting in a current population of about 640, Hall said.

Fully developed, Babcock is designed to contain a population of 19,500.

At this point of population, Heck said the station will not have regular business hours, but will be used by road patrol officers or detectives assigned to the area. They can use the building for paperwork or for meeting with residents and crime victims who would otherwise have to travel 28 miles to the district’s Punta Gorda office on Utilities Road.

“The Sheriff’s Office is grateful for this facility and feels it will greatly assist in the services provided to citizens living in the surrounding area,” Heck said in a written statement to the Sun, “and will be a welcomed addition for the officers assigned with patrolling the area.”

Law enforcement facilities will increase as the population grows, Heck said.

“As more residents move into the area, the staffing levels will need to change, which will change how the facility is utilized, and likely require a fifth district for the Sheriff’s Office,” Heck said.

Email: betsy.calvert@yoursun.com

The new Charlotte County Sheriff’s Office substation is already located in Babcock Ranch and will open for business on July 1. Behind the modular trailer the existing commercial buildings in Babcock can be seen. Babcock Holdings LLC donated the building, as required by its development agreement. The county will rent the land from Babcock Holdings for $100 a month.

PROVIDED BY CHARLOTTE COUNTY SHERIFF’S OFFICE